“It’s important that you first experience the 5 laws that rule this world.
The first mystery is perspective traveling. Change the perspective and connect the path. The character will walk as if the path is connected. In this world, what you see becomes the truth.
The second mystery is perspective landing. The character will land on whatever appears to be below.
The third mystery is perspective existence. You may not be able to see it, but there is a path.
The fourth mystery is perspective absence. Hide the obstruction and it no longer exists.
The last mystery is perspective jump. Where you want to jump is up to you. Shift the perspective and follow the echo.”
That’s the opening tutorial for Echochrome and is Sony’s way of explaining how the game works. Make sense? Well, no, probably not. Before you read anymore of this tutorial, I suggest you find a video of Echochrome in action and watch how the game works, that will make my explanation of the game easier to understand… Done that?
Ok good. Echochrome is a space manipulation title from Sony Japan. The game features simple line drawing puzzles, in which you control the camera angle in order to change the perspective of the game and get your little walking man to the different points. It’s probably good to go through each of the five “mysteries” and explain how they work a bit more and whether they work well. Bear in mind this is only a hands-on from preview code, and so some elements of the final game may be slightly different or tweaked.
Perspective traveling involves you moving the camera angle to make two ends appear as though they meet. For example, you could have a simple U shaped puzzle, and by turning the camera with your analog sticks to a certain angle, you can make the two ends of the U look like they meet – so when your character strolls up to the end, he’ll simply walk across the ends as if they were joined.
Throughout the puzzles, there are small black holes scattered around. If your character walks over them, he’ll fall through. However, you can again move the camera so that your man will fall onto another piece of the puzzle, which in reality is not actually underneath the hole – it simply appears like it is from the angle you put the camera at.
This third element of the game requires you to cover up gaps in the puzzle blocks to create a path. For example, you may have a straight bit of floor with a block missing in the middle. Your character will simply walk up and down similar to how the lemmings do it when they can’t get out of a certain area. By moving the camera, you can strategically place a vertical block in the way of the gap, therefore creating the illusion that the gap is not there – which will, in turn, mean that your character will walk straight through the gap.
The fourth element, Perspective Absence, works in a similar way to the third one. By maneuvering the camera, you can hide a hole (mentioned earlier), stopping your character from falling down it. You can also block your view of the fifth and final mystery, jumping – again stopping your character from jumping on a jump circle.
This is probably the most difficult of the four to perfect: Perspective Jumping. Similar to the black holes in which you fall down, there are white circles which shoot your character up into the air. By moving the camera to the correct angle, you can make a part of the puzzle seem to be above your character, and therefore he’ll jump up and land on it.
Now that I’ve totally confused you with the different parts of the game, I’ll try and start talking some sense with what you actually get for your money. The game features 56 puzzles, or stages, each with five waypoints (otherwise known as echoes) and five difficulty levels. Four of the echoes will be randomly placed on the puzzle, and it’s your job to move the camera, using obstacles to your advantage to reach the points in any order. Once the four have been reached, the fifth and final echo will appear where your character first started – sending you back to your original starting point.
On top of the 56 stages within the game, you’ll also be able to try your hand at your own creations, with the Canvas mode. This allows you to custom make your own puzzles – with a never ending amount of puzzle creations available. You can simply place a block, staircase, or any other element in the 3D world, in any way you want, to create unique and challenging puzzles. And if that wasn’t enough, you can download additional content.
From what we’ve played so far, Echochrome is finally bringing something totally original to the PS3. If you can get past the headache of trying to figure out how each puzzle works (the ones on the higher levels are extremely tricky), then you’ll be playing this title for hours. Oh and did I mention it was going to retail for $9.99 in America? As long as it sticks to that price tag and doesn’t shoot up to ten times it’s price when it hits Europe (like Rockband has), Echochrome will most definitely be one for the collection.